Borough President Helen Marshall has notified the Juniper Park Civic Association that she has allocated $1,450,000 in the City Capital Budget for Phase I reconstruction and restoration of the former St. Saviour's Church for fiscal year 2010. The funding will help pay for the reconstruction of the Church as a community education, cultural and performance center. The newly reconstructed and restored structure will also be used to educate NYC students in "Green Technology" with a view into solar, water and geo-thermal technology.
At the same time, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley has announced that she has added $500,000 in capital funding to the reconstruction effort. The building will be reassembled in unused property owned by All Faiths Cemetery on 69th Street and Juniper Valley Road. The cemetery''s president, Dan Austin agreed to take the St. Saviour's when the church was about to be demolished. "Juniper Civic has worked extremely hard to save St. Saviour's for so long, and we would be honored to have such an historic building on our property," said Austin.
St. Saviour's stood proudly on Maspeth Hill for over 160 years. The church was literally hours away from being demolished on March 20th, when Juniper Park Civic Association President, Robert Holden spoke with the developer face-to-face and got him to agree to donate the building as long as JPCA removed it from the site within 30 days. The battle to save St. Saviour's, built in 1847 by Maspeth pioneers and designed by world renowned architect, Richard Upjohn, had been going on for more than 2 years.
The historic building was disassembled and saved thanks to the expertise and additional funding from the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Christabel Gough, Juniper Park Civic Association and emergency funding from Borough President Helen Marshall. The 1847 Carpenter Gothic structure was painstakingly labeled and carefully packed in two trailers and now sits in Maspeth.
"I am pleased to lend this vital support to the Juniper Park Civic Association that provides front-line services to the residents of Queens and our City," said Borough President Marshall.
"This is fantastic news and another chapter in the miraculous story of St. Saviour's," said Holden. He added that the JPCA is still trying to convince Mayor Bloomberg that the historic St. Saviour's property in Maspeth should be acquired for a public park. "Although it's a long shot we have not given up hope in returning the church to its proper location," said Holden.
It should be noted that several historic Queens structures have been successfully relocated and renovated, including the Latimer House and Kingsland Homestead in Flushing.
In addition to Borough President Helen Marshall and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, the Juniper Park Civic Association would especially like to thank Christabel Gough, from the Society for the Architecture of the City, Ann-Isabel Friedman, Director, Sacred Sites Program for NY Landmarks Conservancy, Kaitsen Woo, Architect for St. Saviour's and Alexandra Rosa, Mark Scott, and Karen Koslowitz from the Borough President''s office.
Reconstruction of the church could begin as early as Spring 2010.